506 Main Hall
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Dr. Hanley, Chairperson
Dr. Chien, Assistant Chairperson
Dr. Fournier, Graduate Coordinator

Professors [top]

Jonathan Friedman, Ph.D., University of Maryland
Karin E. Gedge, Ph.D., Yale University
Wayne Hanley, Ph.D., University of Missouri
Charles Hardy, III, Ph.D., Temple University
James Jones, Ph.D., University of Delaware
Lisa A. Kirschenbaum, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Associate Professors

Cecilia Lee-Fang Chien, Ph.D., Harvard University
Thomas J. Legg, Ph.D., The College of William and Mary
LaTonya Thames-Taylor, Ph.D., University of Mississippi

Assistant Professors

Tia Malkin-Fontecchio, Ph.D., Brown University
Brenda Gaydosh, Ph.D., American University
Anne Krulikowski, Ph.D., University of Delaware
Brent Ruswick, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison
Janneken Smucker, Ph.D., University of Delaware


James Scythes, M.A., Villanova University


Programs of Study [top]

The Department of History offers two degrees: the master of arts in history and, in cooperation with the School of Education, the master of education in history.

The master of arts in history provides a broad base for teaching excellence, a platform for studies leading to the Ph.D., and skills for informed decision making in the public and private sectors. Students with permission of the graduate coordinator may take up to six semester hours in a discipline related to their major field of study. The M.A. in history may be earned by completing either a thesis or nonthesis program.

The nonthesis option is designed for students who desire more content courses as background for their own teaching, further academic work, or personal enrichment.

Students must concentrate in one of three fields: world/comparative, European, or United States.

The master of education in history is designed to provide in-service teachers with additional professional education courses and an opportunity to enlarge their understanding of the historical past. This degree program is not designed for initial teacher certificaton. Students in this program are advised by the Department of History.

The department also offers a nondegree professional growth program in which students take graduate courses for personal and professional growth without enrolling in the graduate program.

Admission Requirements

The Department of History requires a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) in history and a 2.75 overall GPA for admission to its graduate programs. A statement of professional goals, three letters of recommendation, preferably academic, and a sample of analytical writing that demonstrates proficiency in writing skills also are required. Applicants must have completed undergraduate surveys in U.S. history and world or Western civilization, and an undergraduate course in historical methodology or historical research. Applicants who do not meet the above criteria may be admitted on a provisional basis. Students also may take up to two graduate courses before formal admission to either graduate program.

Degree Requirements

Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 and apply for degree candidacy upon completion of 12-18 hours of applicable course work. In both programs candidates must pass a written comprehensive examination at or near the conclusion of their course work. The comprehensive examination is administered each semester. Those candidates wishing to take the examination in a given semester should contact the graduate coordinator during the first three weeks of the semester. With approval of the graduate coordinator, candidates also may complete up to two courses in a field related to history. Candidates also may apply towards their degree up to six credits of graduate course work taken elsewhere.

Master of Arts in History [top]

Curriculum (33 semester hours)

Thesis Option

  1. Required (3 semester hours)
    HIS 500 (ordinarily to be taken in first semester, but no later than during first 12 semester hours)
  2. Major field (15 semester hours)
    Includes HIS 650, 651, 652, and additional HIS courses
  3. Minor field (9 semester hours)
    Three HIS courses
  4. Third field (3 semester hours)
  5. Related field option (3–6 semester hours)
    To be substituted and counted where appropriate above
  6. Thesis (6 semester hours)
    HIS 691 (normally taken as three semester hours in two consecutive semesters)

Nonthesis Option

  1. Required
    HIS 500 (ordinarily to be taken in first semester, but no later than during first 12 semester hours)
  2. Major field (15 semester hours)
    Includes HIS 650, 651, 652, and additional HIS courses
  3. Minor field (9 semester hours)
    Three HIS courses
  4. Third field (6 semester hours)
  5. Related field option (3–6 semester hours)
    3-6 semester hours to be substituted and counted where appropriate

Master of Education in History

Curriculum (36 semester hours)

  1. Professional education requirements (12 semester hours)
    (See Professional and Secondary Education, page 92)
  2. Required course (3 semester hours)
    HIS 500 (generally to be taken in the first semester,
    but no later than during the first 12 credits)
  3. Major field (12 semester hours)
    Three courses selected under advisement and
    HIS 650, 651, or 652
  4. History electives (6 semester hours)
    Three credits in each of the nonmajor fields
  5. Electives (3 semester hours)
    Professional education or academic

The Department of History has approved the following undergraduate courses for graduate credit when scheduled with the approval of the graduate coordinator or the department's chairperson: HIS 406, 411, 412, 415, 416, 420, 421, 422, 423, 425, 427, 428, 435, 445, 450, 451, 455, 474, and 480. No more than six credits of 400-level course work may be used to satisfy graduate degree requirements.

Course Descriptions [top]

Symbol: HIS

500 Methods and Materials of Research in History (3) Basic techniques and procedures in research; major types of research and methods for locating, evaluating, and interpreting evidence. The student develops a tentative outline, bibliography, and summary of an investigative procedure. Required of all degree-program students.

505 Studies in the History and Culture of East Asia (3) The traditional basis for modern Chinese, Japanese, and Korean societies. The interaction between European and Asian cultures and resulting changes in East Asia.

509 The Modern Middle East and the West (3) Recent history of major Middle Eastern societies; Iran and the oil situation; Israel and the Palestinian question; conflicting cultures.

511 Africa to Independence (3) Emergence of modern African nationalism against the background of traditional African society and the legacy of European colonialism.

512 Independent Africa (3) The post-war experience of Sub-Saharan Africa, viewed in the light of the end of European colonial administration and the growth of an independent African society.

515 Latin America Since Independence (3) Pre-Columbian art and thought, scholasticism, mercantilism, the Great Debate, Baroque architecture, Enlightenment, conservatism, liberalism, Romanticism, Modernism, Positivism, Aprismo, Mexican muralists, novel of social protest, existentialism, and music. Lineaments of the Latin-American mind.

520 Racism, Bigotry, Prejudice (3) Course examines the evolution and roots of human prejudice and bigotry from a variety of perspectives - historical, sociological, and psychological.

523 History of Germany (3) Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries: Napoleonic era, rise of Prussia, nationalism and unification, imperialism and World War I, National Socialism, World War II, divided Germany and Reunification.

530 Problems in Medieval Civilization (3) Rise and fall of the Byzantine Empire, conquests of the Arabs and Turks, the crusades for the recovery of the Holy Land; the religious orders and the universal aspirations of the Papacy.

532 The Reformation (3) Major and minor Protestant leaders and their movements; effects on the evolving nation-states; the Church of Rome's response; Wars of Religion and Treaty of Westphalia; the Scientific Revolution.

533 Dynastic Europe 17th Century (3) Compares and contrasts political, economic, and social developments of two major dynastic powers, namely Spain and France, during the 17th century.

534 The French Revolution and Napoleon (3) The central themes of the French Revolution, from the origins during the ancient regime to the fall of Napoleon and Congress of Vienna.

535 Nationalism and Democracy: 1815-1914 (3) Aftermath and effect of the French Revolutionary era; events brought on by the growth of nationalism and democracy; development of the industrial revolution. Roots of the First World War.

536 Europe Since 1914 (3) Twentieth-century Europe, with emphasis on causes of World War I, Europe between World War I and World War II, and problems of contemporary Europe.

540 The Evolution of Modern Russia (3) A cultural approach to the historical development of Russia from the foundation of Kiev to the Revolution of 1917. Emphasis is on Russia's political and aesthetic uniqueness.

542 Women and Children in Early Modern Europe (3) Focuses on the private and public life of women and children of diverse social status in various European countries. Special attention is given to changing social, religious, economic, and cultural attitudes and how they affected the lives of women and children.

543 Jews in Modern European History (3) This course assesses Jewish life and thought in the context of major European historical developments during the 19th and 20th centuries. Special attention is given to the emancipation and acculturation process and the proliferation of anti-Semitism.

544 Final Solution in Europe (3) This course explores the "Final Solution" of the "Jewish Question," the core of the Nazi Holocaust as it was administered in each country in Europe under German occupation during World War II.

545 Holocaust (3) The study of steps leading to the Holocaust (1933-1945), the Holocaust itself, and the aftermath. The rise of Nazism is included.

546 Genocide in Modern History (3) Case studies of major atrocities of the 20th century, analyzing how and why particular genocides were committed.

547 Asocials and the Holocaust (3) This course studies the other victims of the Holocaust: Gypsies, homosexuals, persons with disabilities, Jehovah's Witnesses, and others.

548 Women and the Holocaust (3) An examination of women's experiences in Nazi-occupied Europe. Also explores the role of gender in Nazi ideology and in postwar testimonies.

549 American Perspectives on the Holocaust (3) A brief history of Jewish people in America with an in-depth study of American reaction to the Holocaust.

550 Colonial America: 1607-1763 (3) Development of the 13 colonies of Anglo-America from their settlement to mid-18th century. Emphasis on a conceptual analysis of specific events and problems.

551 Revolutionary America: 1763-1789 (3) American development from the mid-18th century to the framing of the Constitution, with emphasis on the causes of the American Revolution and the evolution of American institutions and ideas throughout the period.

553 The Rise of the New Nation: 1789-1850 (3) A historiographical approach involving interpretations of the foundations and development of the Federalist Party, emergence of Jeffersonian Democracy, evolution of Jacksonian Democracy, and events of the Middle Period leading to the decade of controversy.

554 Civil War and Reconstruction: 1850-1877 (3) The war and its aftermath as the great watershed of United States national history. Emphasis on the conflicting interpretations of the causes, nature, and effects of the Civil War.

555 Emergence of Modern America: 1876-1930 (3) The rise of industrial capitalism, urbanization, mass consumer society, and culture, and the impact of modernization on class gender, race relations, governance, and foreign policy.

556 America Since 1919 (3) The impact of urbanization and industrialization on society, politics, and economics; the problems of wars – declared and undeclared – and the various policies for peace.

557 Problems in American Constitutional Development (3) Selected problems in the development of American constitutional government. The progressive adaptation of the law to a changing social and economic order. Conflicts such as nationalism versus states' rights, and vested rights versus police power.

558 History of the Cold War (3) American foreign policy in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East from 1945 to the end of the Cold War. Objectives sought by the United States and the political, military, economic, and social policies pursued during the Cold War.

559 American Urban History (3) Research methods and approaches for studying the history of cities in America. Emphasis on quantitative analysis, including studies of urban population, social mobility, and voting patterns.

561 The Indian in America's Past (3) The dispossession of the American Indian: land seizures, wars and treaties, cultural contact; customs, mores, economic, and religious life of the Indian; assimilation and preservation of Indian culture.

601 Directed Readings in American History (3) A critical examination of significant works on selected topics in the field. PREREQ: Permission of graduate coordinator. This course may be taken again for credit.

602 Directed Readings in European History (3) A critical examination of significant works on selected topics in the field. PREREQ: Permission of graduate coordinator. This course may be taken again for credit.

603 Directed Readings in World and Regional History (3) A critical examination of significant works on selected topics in the field. PREREQ: Permission of graduate coordinator. This course may be taken again for credit.

650 Seminar in American History (3) Selected problems in American history. Subject announced in advance of each semester. PREREQ: HIS 500 and nine graduate credits of history.

651 Seminar in European History (3) Selected problems in European history. Subject announced in advance of each semester. PREREQ: HIS 500 and nine graduate credits of history.

652 Seminar in History of the Non-Western World (3) Selected problems in non-Western world history. Subject announced in advance of each semester. PREREQ: HIS 500 and nine graduate credits of history.

660 Field Studies in History (3-6) A fully supervised learning experience, usually a tour, designed to expose students to the culture, artifacts, and research facilities of a given country or area.

690 Independent Studies in History (1-3) Research projects, reports, and readings in history. PREREQ: Approval of department chairperson.

691 Thesis (6)

Social Science
Symbol: SSC

502 Methods and Materials for Teaching Social Studies (3) Current practices and procedures; organization and planning; the use of classroom, library, and curriculum materials; testing, measurements, and evaluation; bibliographical sources for both teachers and students.

503 Teaching Holocaust/Genocide Secondary Methods (3) This course prepares teachers of the Holocaust and genocides in special secondary social studies methods.